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Eddie Maddock: Business as Usual?

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock

Sedona AZ (January 7, 2017) – At a Special Sedona City Council Meeting, 3:00 –Wednesday afternoon –January 11, 2017, after three long years of a contentious destination marketing agreement with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the City will again revisit the issue. We can only hope the negotiations will prove to be less controversial, fairer and, in turn, result in acceptable transparency which will dismiss suspicion and mistrust of City Hall dealings. That might very well have been the case had the original commitment for Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) as well as certified outside audits been upheld as proposed during the initial negotiations. Ignoring both valid concerns was a disservice to everyone.

Five options will be discussed at this meeting as follows:

Option 1: Move forward with the negotiations of a new contract with the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 2: Issue an RFP for tourism promotion services.

Option 3: Create a stand-alone destination marketing organization (DMO) without ties to the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 4: Create a City Department to handle tourism promotion.

Option 5: Issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess the current structure, funding relationships, etc. and provide recommendations to the city.

Pros and cons of each option will be discussed at length, such as concerns RFP’s will include bids from for-profit agencies. That brings up several questions. Without an official outside audit from a qualified source, how do they know the Chamber has not been making a profit? How many employees have they hired? What has been the cost of improvement to their own facilities, etc? And what is the source of funding for those operating expenses?

And will the City acknowledge the Chamber currently offers their own RFP’s for specific services, realistically reducing them to a mere middle-agency, acting on behalf of the City of Sedona?

And how do they justify the extended branding of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce that has occurred within the past three years? What has been the source of that promotional funding for the Chamber instead of the City?

By creating a stand-alone destination marketing organization, the City could avoid real or perceived conflicts between tourism promotion services and the various other functions of the Chamber of Commerce. Although they specify: “Unclear how local and regional partners would react,” why should that concern the City? Should their focus at long last be redirected to the residents of incorporated Sedona? They are the people who created the City in the first place, clearly, and with knowledge, it attracted tourists.

Sure, a stand-alone destination marketing organization “would result in the re-creation of an already established and successful local agency.” However the extent of success of the present local agency has never been undisputedly proven. The source of increased revenue after the great recession coupled with a reduction in gasoline prices has never factually been factored into the increased tourism and resulting upswing in revenue. Nor has it been determined to what extent advertising monies have merely resulted in excessive day-tripping, which the City’’s infrastructure clearly cannot handle.

As for the suggestion for Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess and monitor the current structure, would that be nothing more than a baby sitter for the contract with the Chamber of Commerce? Should the City have been serving that function for the past three years?

It has frequently been said the City could not afford to operate their stand-alone department. And how would they know? With a Chamber of Commerce now providing funding for USFS trail maintenance, contributing money back to the City for their traffic study, and other generous, but questionably frivolous expenditures, most recently to propose purchasing property on behalf of the City with what appears to be leftover funds from the bed tax rebate, how can they make that determination without a precise and reliable audit from an authentic source? They cannot. Is there any reasonable explanation why the City should not take responsibility for allocating the bed tax revenue -– all of it – including over and above destination marketing?

And the perfect opportunity to establish a genuine Sedona Visitors Center has been ignored by not including such a service at the Western Gateway. How long will this City tolerate discrimination of their own legitimate licensed, tax collecting businesses within City Limits unless they are forced to be members of what clearly is a regional Chamber of Commerce? And the practice of paid referrals is common, but should the City be involved by financing the activity with public funds, and further discriminating against in-city businesses?

Molly Spangler

With the recent hiring of a professional, Molly Spangler, to serve as Economic Development Director, there i’s really no need to burden our busy Chamber of Commerce with more additional duties besides servicing their members, which is the purpose of their non-profit organization.

And, since when was “The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau” deemed “the Destination Marketing & Management Organization in Sedona for 65 years”? Up until just a few years ago was it not the Oak Creek Canyon Sedona Chamber of Commerce, then changed to Sedona Chamber of Commerce, and most recently “”& Tourism Bureau”” was tacked on? This elaborate extension of creating yet another illusion that simply does not exist is pretty much over the top. Wouldn’t you agree? Dumb question.

There i’s already a campaign in motion to “Make America Great Again.” How about a local endeavor to “Make Sedona Respectable Again”? Meet and greet our visitors with an authentic Sedona Visitors Center and related advertising. Don’’t we deserve it like other places? Flagstaff (AZ) and Park City (UT) are, but two, examples that offer proof they survive very well without financial support to their respective Chambers of Commerce.

Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!

383 Comments

  1. Wsr says:

    @sound familia
    @about time

    Both are the same person and most likely the same person posting under 20 different names

    Fyi

  2. WSR - New & Improved says:

    Mercy Me – Finally the Light Dawns.

    As Robert Pickels (City Attorney) explained at that meeting last Tuesday, more pending disaster for this remarkable city is looming should the state actually force the removal of the policy of collecting monthly sewer fees on vacant lots (yikes). Then of course there will be the matter of reinventing a source for the loss of appx. $400,000 revenue. What better reason to retract the millions of $$$ frittered away to the members of the regional chamber of commerce? And add to the readily available mysterious source of increased funding the appx. $50,000 annually to Red Earth Theatre?

    Even if the city were to withdraw that .5% bed tax increase of three years ago, the return to the “the city” (operative words: The City and NOT the chamber of commerce) would be a miraculous boon to the coffers at city hall for any number of under-funded but essential basics to keep the incorporated area of Sedona (within city limits) functioning as it should be.

    Advertising would be better directed towards the State Bureau of Tourism and far less costly. Then the city could rightfully look at purchasing their own property and even operate a legitimate Visitors Center as does Flagstaff and other numerous places previously mentioned but constantly ignored. It works very well elsewhere so why not Sedona?

    Maybe one of these days the City of Sedona and State of Arizona will open their eyes. It’s possible. I just did.

    From your pal,
    WSR, New & Improved

    PS. Almost forgot to give proper accolades to those council members that expressed so much concern about eliminating the appx. $8,000 for mass mailing to Sedona citizens for notification of zone changes to amend the Community Plan. Such caring folks. And now is the perfect time to put money (public funds NOT their own) where their mouths are and cut the wasteful nonsense of the farce of a great deal for the chamber of corruption. Why is that so difficult to understand, you fiscally responsible preachers? WSR – N&i

  3. @WSR - New & Improved says:

    Me thinks I smell an imposter to WSR.

    You say “wasteful nonsense” I say THANKS CHAMBER FOR SAVING MY BUSINESS THAT IS IN THE CITY LIMITS!

  4. @WSR - New & Improved says:

    Glad to see WSR got some truth syrup.
    Thanks for the good laugh @@WSR – New & Improved nobody knows anyone that the chamber has saved their business. Really a bad business plan you have. Yavapai College has business courses. There are many online programs also. Since you clearly are not a seasoned professional and announced at a council meeting that you need Jennifer to manage and organize you. I believe you said I couldn’t do it without her. You really should take those classes as you never know how long Jennifer will provide you private secretary services.
    Maybe you should ask around and find out what Jennifer did to Char. I wouldn’t have a BP with her controlling it.

  5. West sedona resident says:

    Watch for it SE readers

    The above posts will be followed up by the person posting under 20 different names…..

    All the posts will be bellyaching and crying about city council and the c of c..
    There will also be some general negative complaints about anything else this person feels at the time…..watch for it

  6. Another Sedona Business says:

    To the person thanked the chamber for saving them, all I can say is you are probably one of the chosen that survives largely because you benefit from referrals at the bogus “city” visitors’ center uptown. It’s well known that frequently when tourists ask about a certain place (directions for example) they are told to go elsewhere for any number of reasons (better food, ambiance, etc.) but the real reason is they are paid to send customers there. So that, dear farce, is one of the reason so many other businesses have been shuttered and Sedona has an overabundance of vacant store fronts.

  7. Sorely Disappointed says:

    After 20 years we recently had occasion to visit Sedona for a weekend adventure. Of course we anticipated some changes after that length of time. But never in our wildest expectations were we ready for what we witnessed.

    Besides traffic gridlock, when we finally arrived at hiking trails and eventually found a place to park, the experience was frightening. Barely escaping off road vehicles, mountain bikes, litter and packed trails, we gave up regretting we returned to the scene of such destruction so removed from what we remembered.

    And for the record we first heard about Sedona from friends and still know nothing about the chamber of commerce except for what has been written on this and other online sites about Sedona.

    Not to worry about our identity as some rude person continues to point out. Credibility of comments offered on Sedona Eye based on our own experience stand pat. Those disputing it without offering any source to back up their claims of misrepresentation or validity are the ones treading water. In fact, our conclusion is Sedona has it’s own little version of the RICO Act – and that folks is simply our opinion. The only thing that appears to be missing is an authorized investigation by some higher authority.

    Rest assured, we will not be back so no need to challenge our names for authenticity.

    Roy & Nancy
    Cincinnati, OH

    RICO ACT

    Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act
    The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization

  8. @Another Sedona Business says:

    Thanks for opening my eyes as to why you think businesses have closed in the incorporated city limits. You can blame the visitors center all you want but I found that there are other reasons to add to that list such as not being able to find qualified workers or small businesses have to pay crazy rents to building owners. Another reason is that business owners have been evicted by the land lord for harassing and intimidating other businesses in the building and for violating their leases.

  9. Also Walked the Walk says:

    @Another Sedona Business. Question……Are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce? If not maybe you should be and you wouldn’t have been treated so poorly by your landlord. You are only offering one side of the story here.

  10. WSr says:

    @Ron And Nancy

    Bye…..you won’t be missed…Thanks for the fake letter fake people

  11. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @West sedona resident,

    You are the only one who posts under 20 different names at this site, and every reader here knows it, although no one can ever understand what your point is.

  12. Jack M. says:

    You guys really need to wake up.Fixing up my house and every single thing I have done has been hit with SALES TAX for the city of Sedona!!!!!!Appliances, rug, flooring. all home depot deliveries. Everything! even those item just being delivered.This city sucks! They tax you to death and then say you don’t contribute.

  13. E.E. Cummings says:

    “To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
    e.e.cummings

  14. @Jack M says:

    Hay Jack, thank you for your contribution. What is so great about this system is that not only do you and I pay that sales tax to help run the city, SO DO THE MILLIONS OF TOURISTS that visit here each year. The very best is that of those MILLIONS OF TOURISTS, only about 1% of them use any of our services and then get the heck out of town. Great deal for us don’t you think. I agree with you, we all need to wake up and realize that while tourists don’t know how to drive in a round a bout, they sure know how to contribute to our tax base.

  15. Dream On says:

    @@Jack M – And the tourists were to have been the cash cow for the sewer plant, too. Very funny as the taxes pledged to that monster continue to be redirected. And it’s the lowly residents that will pay the price to subsidize the $400,000 loss for the current vacant lot rip-off fees if the state pulls the plug on that scam. Oh, and don’t forget the promise about the USFS land exchange for the Cultural Park – the contingency part about it was NEVER – in perpetuity to be used for commercial purposes. Lies, lies, lies – and now possibly the biggest scam of all – the Chamber of Commerce to be memorialize by becoming an official department of the city! A private, member-driven allegedly non-profit? The woo-woos have evolved and at the expense to Sedona residents.

  16. Mary C says:

    @Jack M

    That’s bull to say, falsely, that tourists contribute and only use 1% of our services. You are probably a city employee who shows up, I hesitate to say work, as they do nothing productive, only 4 days a week and are never here on Fridays or a holiday Monday. It seems all this supposed money tourists bring in goes to the pockets of city employees, favored groups and the chamber. If tourists only contribute, why are our sewer rates constantly going up?

    Tourists clog and wear our roads, drive residents away, like the city’s population decrease from 11,000 to 10,000. What other tourist town, with all the baby boomers retiring, has lost population?

    The only people who like bumper to bumper traffic profit from it. That would leave out most residents.

  17. Jack M. says:

    @Jack M humm you sound like Steve. I disagree I see the tourists/ chamber/ hotels are raping the city. Have you gone for a hike? Trash everywhere. The tourists Chamber and hotels aren’t payin enough. Listen to the vision statement. City isn’t livin up to that. We pay higher property taxes cause fr those tourists. They should pay more for infrastructure.

  18. Wsr says:

    Last three posts

    Jack M
    Mary c
    Dream on

    Are all the same person….FYI SE readers

    That is one hate-fueled crazy person!!!!!

  19. FYI Showlow Chamber says:

    This is a paste from the website link below.

    “What do you think of when you see the words “chamber” and “commerce”? Do they represent a community organization that just gives away free brochures and maps and answers questions? Are they a title for a small City government agency, funded by City government? Neither of those definitions are accurate. A “chamber” is a gathering place for people with common interests; and, “commerce” means the exchange of goods, services and ideas. In other words, The Show Low Chamber of Commerce is first and foremost a private organization of members interested in promoting a strong local economy and encouraging visitors to our community.”

    http://local.townsquarepublications.com/arizona/showlow/13/topic.html

  20. West Sedona Dave says:

    Very good find FYI!…to bad it would and will fall on deaf ears around here!

    And also notice that that chamber also has other city’s involved…..Interesting!

    I enjoyed this point……

    Quote: One of our leading business owners wrote recently that because of his Chamber membership he met intelligent, motivated and interesting people working outside of his field of expertise, that membership was an excellent way to become an active part of the community and that he was regularly benefiting from business referrals that originated through his Chamber activity. end quote

    I dont think the haters of all things Sedona will like truth…..But then again if it wasn’t for hatred they would have nothing else to live for.

  21. Dream On says:

    The ongoing ignorance displayed by this WSR persona is obnoxious to say the least. Having never met, to my knowledge, this rude and really very stupid individual it’s amazing what possible validity is there in the claim that my identity is the same as at least three others. In fact, I have no idea who they are but for certain and maybe unfortunately it’s impossible for me to take credit for their opinions even though I agree. If the really very stupid WSR could offer even one small tidbit of worthwhile information it would even be questionable since this person has absolutely no credibility at all whatsoever. Get a life poor thing. Nothing to do but sit and wait for comments to attack on Sedona Eye. Pitiful.

  22. Alarmed says:

    Jennifer revealed the Chamber of Commerce is in a 120-day escrow on the 401 Jordan Road property in Uptown “right now,” with escrow ending on May 8th (3/01/2017 Sedona City Council Meeting, AB 2204). Didn’t Jen blind-side the City Council? Who authorized this, if anyone?

    Council has yet to make a final decision about the Jordan Road property one way or another; Wednesday, March 15, 2017 is next meeting. Jen said the Chamber can still get out of the contract.

    The Chamber wants to be granted, and spend, $1.125 Million (+$250,000 to improve the parking lot) in future Product Development funds so as to pay off the asking price by fiscal year 2022. The Chamber is looking for a 5-year contract with the City in addition to a total of $1,375,000 in taxpayer funds.

    One of the initial goals for the Jordan Road property is to utilize many of the 45 parking spaces there as a Staging Area for Tour Operators. Vendors would use the parking lot to pick up and drop off visitors who are looking to participate in activities in and around Sedona. Events managers could also use the lot to pick up people who will be attending their event. In addition, the property could provide parking for Uptown employees according to the Chamber. Allegedly, as a revenue generator, the private sector could rent spaces for their employees. Would this be from the Chamber?

    The Arizona Constitution’s “Gift Clause” prohibits “any donation or grant, by subsidy or otherwise, to any individual, association, or corporation.” Division 1 of the Arizona Court of Appeals found an agreement violates the “Gift Clause” if the public expenditure to a private party unduly promotes private interests in the 2010 CITY NORTH case, Turken v. Gordon (the Mayor of Phoenix).

    The Appeals Court ruled that a City can no longer use indirect benefits in order to comply with the “Gift Clause”–only direct benefits. The City of Sedona must get in return something that is of equal or similar value to what it is giving.

  23. Wah Wah Wah says:

    Other than the words Chamber of Commerce there’s nothing about your posting that remotely compares Sedona and Showlow cities. Grow up and “take a hike”!

  24. Julianna says:

    @Wsr

    The only crazy person is you dear. You must be crazy with fear that someone will expose your employment with the city. It’s coming, and it will deserve it’s own website. Watch for it.

  25. Wsr says:

    @julianna

    Don’t work for nor did I ever work for the city……Unlike you. Oppps..

    I mean you use to…. wink

  26. @Julianna says:

    Have no idea who you are but all there is to offer here is I hope and pray you are correct in your evaluation. In the meantime, time is running out for this city council to write a contract with the Chamber memorializing their city contract in perpetuity – tying the hands of all future elected officials. Where is justice? Why aren’t these people arrested and put in jail for criminal activity involving public funds? And if the offer on that property is in escrow, where is the transparency? OMG – Sedona city government makes the national pros look like amateurs. Shameful.

  27. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Duh – refer to comment from Wah Wah Wah. Wasn’t that the point of the reference to the Show Low policy – to prove how insane and abusive the Chamber of Commerce is using public funds to operate their bogus scam? You, idiot, are the one that missed the point. Catch the next train out of town – oh, that’s right we don’t have one. Same as your missing brains stupid.

  28. @FYi Showlow Chamber says:

    Thanks for pointing out a class act, Showlow, Arizona, Chamber, for upholding their mission and defining just exactly what a Chamber of Commerce is. Too bad that appropriate acknowledgment doesn’t exist in Sedona, Arizona. Where oh where is enforcement of alleged non-profits? IRS – WHERE ARE YOU IN OUR TIME OF NEED? State of Arizona – as corrupt as the City of Sedona.

  29. Rob Nall says:

    @weirdsedonarube almost funny definitely

  30. tom howell says:

    li·bel LAW
    a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation.
    synonyms: defamation, defamation of character, character assassination, calumny, misrepresentation, scandalmongering;

  31. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @ Wsr, WSr, West Sedona Resident, West sedona resident, West sedona Resident, WSR, WSR times 2, Anonymous, and All Readers at The Eye:

    It’s time for your regular appointment for an enema to relieve your intellectual constipation which sounds like a broken record that nobody listens to. You seem to need more and more of these thought enemas you halfwit…Below is the proof that you can NEVER be believed since YOU’VE ADMITTED THAT YOU, YOURSELF, USE MULTIPLE HANDLES AT THIS SITE AND THEN LIE TO COVER UP THE FACT! The proof is below.

    From The Thought Proctologist;

    Apparently J. Rick won’t repeat his own comments here since, I suppose, he feels to do so shouldn’t be necessary. So, I’ll do it for him, as follows, since I do happen to think the following comment needs to be repeated until the subject troll goes away forever:

    Under Eddie Maddock’s column of November 23, 2016 is this comment;

    J. Rick Normand says:
    December 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    @All Readers at The Eye:

    Re Hecklers: WSR (the ultimate hater and fraud posting above on Dec 25), Wsr, West sedona Resident and Anonymous

    Here is proof that hecklers like the one(s) below can NEVER be believed or trusted, not to mention that these trolls have no interest whatsoever in the articles which their attack targets have posted and labored to thoroughly research. See below:

    Reply to JRN from>>>
    West sedona Resident says:
    December 4, 2016 at 9:08 am

    J Rick Normand
    Thought Proctologist

    The above are both the same person….J Rick still can’t understand why you use your real name AND then an Alias

    Yes that anonymous post was WSR…forgot to fill it in before I posted

    *****

    J. Rick Normand says:
    December 6, 2016 at 9:21 am

    @West sedona Resident, WSR, Wsr, & Anonymous,

    Do you realize that you’ve just admitted that YOU’RE ALL FOUR OF THESE HANDLES while accusing me of being two handles with no evidence or confirmation of any kind? Can’t you ever do anything right?

    JRN

    *****

    Reply to JRN from>>>
    West sedona resident says:
    December 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    JRN

    So what….

    Wsr WSR west sedona resident. Yeah it’s all me …I repeat so what….[sic] there’s all the same…. I’m not pretending to be JRN. And the Thought Proctologist… what’s your point…..Or as in most of your posts….”there is no point”. Just a lot of huffing and hot air

    *****
    From JRN to West sedona Resident, WSR, Wsr, & Anonymous>>>

    Aside from what is revealed through your own words, WSR/Wsr, you’ve proved some other things, namely, that you’re incapable of original research and authoring related articles, incapable of deductive logic, and incapable of achieving enough credibility to persuade anyone to believe in your drivel which you tend to repeat incessantly. You need to find a new game! [and venue (TTP)]

    [End]

  32. Oh Happy Day! says:

    Somebody had their front door open and was playing the piano again. It must be spring:-).

  33. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @DreamOn

    Great comments above. In the earlier comment you said “…and now possibly the biggest scam of all – the Chamber of Commerce to be memorialize by becoming an official department of the city.” May I submit a small revision to your comment? How about “…and now possibly the biggest scam of all – the Chamber of Commerce to be memorialized by declaring the city to be its newest operating division?”

  34. HIGH ALERT - SOS says:

    Because I don’t know where else to go with this, will place my SOS here and hope for the best.

    There’s a notice circulating that an event will be taking place at the Posse Grounds tomorrow morning (that’s Saturday, March 11th) beginning at 9:30 AM.

    The purpose proposed is to form an immigration rights activist group known as “Keep Sedona Together” in order to create substantial support for declaration of Sedona as a sanctuary city. The underlying purpose is to convince Sedona’s City Council into declaring Sedona a Sanctuary City by causing them to believe there is a ground-swell of popular support.

    This is short notice and it’s possible it won’t appear on Sedona Eye prior to this rally and questionable use of the city owned Posse Grounds. However, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of what’s being concocted by the underground efforts that have been conducting their selective and self appointed and self-serving missions for probably the past 7 or 8 years. They do not sleep. Watch your backs.

    Please – alert as many people as you can. Approval of a breach of federal law and state law will have a vast negative impact on the entire Verde Valley – especially if use of The Dells property, owned by City of Sedona but outside city limits, is targeted for this illegal activity.

  35. More Trafffic says:

    Same as the auto traffic the comments on this site flew by and so did anyone else miss the notice from “High Alert – SOS?” Better yet, did anyone show up to the Posse Ground @9:30 to find out for certain what these “Keep Sedona Together” folks are up to now? And even maybe more important, why is city owned property being used to solicit a Sanctuary City when it’s against State and Federal law? Has Sedona now become a country unto itself? Maybe only the Chamber of Commerce can answer that one.

  36. @HIGH ALERT - SOS says:

    Reposting High Alerts Post so people can see, so many posts pushed it below the right column. Thank you High Alert!

    Because I don’t know where else to go with this, will place my SOS here and hope for the best.
    There’s a notice circulating that an event will be taking place at the Posse Grounds tomorrow morning (that’s Saturday, March 11th) beginning at 9:30 AM.
    The purpose proposed is to form an immigration rights activist group known as “Keep Sedona Together” in order to create substantial support for declaration of Sedona as a sanctuary city. The underlying purpose is to convince Sedona’s City Council into declaring Sedona a Sanctuary City by causing them to believe there is a ground-swell of popular support.
    This is short notice and it’s possible it won’t appear on Sedona Eye prior to this rally and questionable use of the city owned Posse Grounds. However, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of what’s being concocted by the underground efforts that have been conducting their selective and self appointed and self-serving missions for probably the past 7 or 8 years. They do not sleep. Watch your backs.
    Please – alert as many people as you can. Approval of a breach of federal law and state law will have a vast negative impact on the entire Verde Valley – especially if use of The Dells property, owned by City of Sedona but outside city limits, is targeted for this illegal activity.

  37. Say What? says:

    So what’s the problem? Responding to what the chamber of commerce (subject of the above article) will do with all that money from the city since clearly the world is aware of Sedona, Arizona, and more advertising is unnecessary, Asst. City Manager (Karen Osburn) suggested at a recent council meeting flexibility as a consideration for the excessive money the chamber receives – and without a dedicated funding source new product development should be explored such as the lot uptown the chamber has already opened escrow for. Why couldn’t the unlimited number of programs and projects very well include development of the previously discussed Pilgrimage Site at The Dells and/or tie it in neatly with a Sanctuary City.

    As they throw more city revenue at the U.S. Forest Service for trail maintenance as our city streets became pock marked with pot holes and other deterioration, who cares? If I prepare a pot of split pea soup from scratch is that product development warranting consideration for some city tax rebate?

    Forget Sedona City limits. (they have already by virtue of financing this regional chamber of commerce) Tomorrow the world. Even controlling the universe wouldn’t phase the egos of these air heads that sell such outrageous ideas enhanced only by the naive (or stupid?) members of the City Council that continue to go along with this absurd trend. Go figure.

  38. Sanctuary City says:

    And yet another reason for the fire district to be considering bond issue? At least that would extend beyond city limits so the entire burden won’t be on incorporated Sedona residents as they continue to do with funding the regional Chamber of Commerce.

  39. Ron Maassen says:

    There are two most important interrelated City Council meetings scheduled this week. The first addresses the issue of the Master Transportation Plan and the second the purchase of property in Uptown by the Chamber to be used for public parking.

    The Transportation issue will be discussed tomorrow, 14 March at 4 :30 in Council Chambers.

    The second will be discussed, Wednesday, 15 March at 3:00PM again in Council Chambers.

    If you were out and about in Sedona today you undoubtedly experienced severe traffic congestion. The traffic demand certainly exceeded the carrying capacity of the roadway system. A balance between demand and capacity can be achieved, in this case, by increasing capacity or decreasing demand. The second would be a novel concept in Sedona.

    The traffic study underway, which purports to be a Master Transportation Plan is anything but. City staff, in their staff report on this issue, recommends that all consideration for alternate routes be dropped. They site a report that evaluates the value of travel time in relationship to the estimated construction costs. There are number of flaws in their methodology. The most obvious of which is the data compilation of current travel times between various locations. A Master Plan of any kind must be forwarding looking and deal with the difficult, the uncomfortable, and the expensive. An Uptown bypass and a link between the Village and West Sedona cannot be discarded from consideration if this is a plan that does looks forward and considers increased traffic. What remains of the study is simply a short term (low hanging fruit) and intermediate (the easy stuff) rather that a plan that may be useful 5-10 years down the road. Long range plans are needed to obtain County, State of Federal funding for infrastructure improvements.

    The second issue is the discussion of the purchase of property at 401 Jordan Road in Uptown by the Chamber. The purchase price is approximately $1,000,000. It is to funded by excess destination marketing money provided by the City to the Chamber over a number of years.

    The property would yield 40 some parking spots ($20-25K/spot) in its’ current condition and could be extended to 90 some if most of the landscaping were removed. The purchase is billed as product development under the guise of destination marketing. Is this best use of City finances? Is this the number one project in the City? Might our roads and sewers be repaired as a higher priority?

    It is imperative that we citizens attend Council meetings and speak up. We cannot continue to be idle bystanders as the future of the City is determined.

    Please join me at these meetings and speak your piece. If you cannot attend, please send an email to City Council at their website.

    http://www.sedonaaz.gov/

    Thank you—Please do speak up.

    Ron Maassen

    PS: There will be those audacious souls who attempt to intimidate us, or rely on the story that “the tourists pay our way” or that “this is a tourist town get a grip or leave”. Do not stay away—be heard.

  40. F.Y.I. says:

    The Uptown [partial] bypass is a joke. Southbound 89A traffic from the Canyon will take a new, yet-to-be-built Schnebly Road for two blocks and then, after a couple blocks on Jordan Road, be dumped back onto 89A. Traffic on Uptown 89A from Jordan Road to the “Y” and on 179 will remain the same as it is now, as will travel time. Approximately $2 million in construction costs will be pissed away.

  41. @Ron Maassen says:

    Superb comments, Mr. Maassen. Good sensible suggestions, but who at city hall displays even a trace of common sense these days. One flaw in your suggestion for us to attend these council meetings, however, remains with the main subject at hand: Traffic! To even attempt entering the two highways most of the time during these difficult staggered weeks of spring break adds to the problem and not the solution. The tail continues to wag the dog as the chamber of commerce continues to reap the money harvest and control our city government.

    Thank you, Sir, for speaking up. And for those who have contacted members of the city council you are also to be commended. The silent majority, especially those that do not vote, are adding to the problems that are never solved, primarily because Sedona is being controlled by bamboozlement. (No spell check for that one but I believe it conveys the message – hope so anyway.)

  42. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    So they talk in circles without a clue about addressing the real issue which is TOO MANY TOURISTS. The operative words are “too many” because Sedona was identified as a tourist town years and years ago, and NOT because of the Chamber of Commerce. It’s the Chamber and incorporated Sedona that have become the problem and yet it is NEVER discussed or addressed. The money allocated to them should be going to maintain the roads we already have. Red Rock Crossing is outside City LImits. But, of course, certain people on that city council still believe they rule the entire Verde Valley. Even Mayor Sandy drops the news that some of these hair brained ideas are not within Sedona’s jurisdiction. And an alternate route or bridge involving Schenbly Hill Road? Do councilors so into their own egos, self importance, and abuse of power really think they can dictate to the USFS? Same as with the two State highways?

    Advertising for even “destination” tourists hasn’t proven to attract anything but more daytrippers. And these fools will approve even more hotels and B & B’s? It’s true. The inmates have really taken over the institution. The beat will continue at the meeting this afternoon when the hype will escalate with the idiotic justification for purchasing the Jordan Rd. property (already in escrow) and other hair-brained projects identified as “product development.”

    Thanks to Ron Maassen and the other speakers. Brave souls to venture into the den of lions.

  43. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter

    Your comment is one of the best I’ve ever seen on any blogroll. And, it’s so well-written and accurately to the point. Thank you without qualification.

  44. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Thank you, “The Thought Proctologist,” for your kinds words. Have you any suggestions how we might get those in charge to see the light? Or is it as hopeless as it appears?

  45. How Come? says:

    As fairly new residents to Sedona (two years) we are both intrigued and frustrated with this give away to what clearly is a regional Chamber of Commerce – a service contract for destination marketing of only Chamber members most of them outside city limits. Of course Sedona might (“might” being the operative word) benefit from trickle down economics, but with traffic congestion who would even want to venture into city limits when staying at, for example, Enchantment or the Hilton offers everything available in Sedona except maybe the tourist traps and wares of questionable value. Better stuff is available in the resort gifts shops.

    Furthermore how can the State of Arizona allow Sedona to get away with spending incorporated money like this? Here is what we found.

    2016 Arizona Revised Statutes
    Title 9 Cities and Towns
    9-101 Incorporation; definition

    D. By whichever proceeding the incorporation of a city or town is accomplished, the order shall designate the name of the city or town, and its METES and BOUNDS, and thereafter the inhabitants within the area so defined shall be a body politic and corporate by the name designated.

    If approval of Senate Bill 1430 becomes finalized, forcing the city to drop monthly sewer fees on vacant lots, and put the burden of the $400,000 revenue loss on those of us connected to the sewer by increasing our monthly rates, we will in all probability be joining the numbers decreasing Sedona’s residential population. Why not the logical alternative of using some of the outrageous money (what – two million or something) to the Chamber of Commerce to take care of city business, the reason most areas incorporate.

    If this trend continues it’s very likely vacation rentals along with other lodging will prevail. Guess that’s the goal? Boy were we duped.

  46. Also Concerned says:

    Same as How Come, we’ve been in Sedona slightly longer but are extremely concerned about the present direction. As supporters of our home town chamber of commerce during our working years, we never experienced city government financing the organization. It was a responsibility of the businesses supporting the Chamber to enhance their programs. And now it appears in a local paper that this same chamber of commerce is behind raising funds for the U.S. forest service to maintain trails. All very nice – however is it the responsibility of an incorporated municipality to make better hiking trails for a federal agency than provide save and adequate roads for the people living in the city? What are we missing?

  47. George N. says:

    Does anyone know just who gets all the money from the tickets being sold to events at The Hub? (former Sedona Teen Center)

  48. West Sedona Dave says:

    ? Also concerned ?

    Quote:Same as How Come, we’ve been in Sedona slightly longer but are extremely concerned about the present direction. As supporters of our home town chamber of commerce during our working years, we never experienced city government financing the organization. It was a responsibility of the businesses supporting the Chamber to enhance their programs. And now it appears in a local paper that this same chamber of commerce is behind raising funds for the U.S. forest service to maintain trails. All very nice – however is it the responsibility of an incorporated municipality to make better hiking trails for a federal agency than provide save and adequate roads for the people living in the city? What are we missing?
    =========================================================

    Well I have been around alot longer than most…..Im guessing you have no clue how local government works? You prove it from what you write!

    Do you have any idea how local governments are involved in the whole Valley? The whole State?…….

    Your road questions would take pages to answer….Just understand, you live in a city that has 3 major roads that feed into it….That would be problem number one.
    Are you aware that it cost about $2 million a mile to construct any road?…Thats not counting rock, land acquisition or approval!

    Now I wouldn’t be against that bed tax monies to be used for roads….But between NIMBY and ignorance I dont see it going far….

    Are you aware Cottonwood funds things like Thunder Valley Rally? The Rib festival?….Or how about an old fashion 4th of July fireworks show?

    It find it funny in a sick twisted way, that people absolutely love to complain about the chamber which does receive money from our local BED TAX….Yes, a tax…..You stay in the city limits at a hotel, motel, or B&B you pay….so the money isnt out of my pocket…So I wont light my hair on fire and complain……Im anti-war and we have spent 4 trillion on a quagmire that has not end it site….Its the way this country is run…..Its called Socialism…..

    Why you throw our local paper into the mix, I have no clue….There all for road improvements, haven’t you read?
    If one of you people think any one fix is the magic bullet, please tell us your earth shattering idea……Cause I sure don’t see it!

    I think its time for most of you chronic complainers to get off your rear ends and become active in our local politics! Not some blog warrior!

    Roads and public transportation are very important to me…..In the last 3 years I have attended any and all……And the sad point is In every meeting I am the only person from the public that is in attendance!…There are people from politicians, ADOT, and numerous other state agency’s!

    So will we have a full house when the last leg of the transportation study is up for public review?…….I bet not, but sure hope Im wrong….
    They will be looking for ideas, and solutions not people ragging and complaining about things they already know!

  49. Also Concerned says:

    Then what is the purpose, Mr. West Sedona Dave, for municipalities to incorporate if they maintain control outside the metes and bounds required to be established as part of incorporation? It makes no sense. Unless, of course, that’s how it’s done in the Wild West.

    To be involved in all levels of government of course is obvious because as we are privileged to vote in county, state, and federal elections. (too bad more people don’t do that) However, in the case of Sedona, why the effort to control the entire Verde Valley? Is it just based on ego of those in control? And the audacity to waste city revenue on everything but the bare essentials right here under our noses? Case in point: maintaining USFS trails instead of our own city owned roads.

    It was made very clear during the proposal for city controlled garbage collection they didn’t want or respect people at the meetings – also ignoring their own telephone survey because the results weren’t to their liking. Isn’t that at least one good example of why people are getting more fed up each and every day?

  50. How Come? says:

    So why does the City Council & Staff think it’s OK for the city-financed Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center to refuse to promote licensed, tax contributing businesses unless they are members of the Chamber, while on the other hand they are in a sweat if the State passes SB1430 and prevents them from charging “stand-by fees” to owners of vacant lots not connected to the sewer?

    And if this occurs and the city loses $400,000, what better way to reclaim those funds than cease and desist giving that amount of money to a member-driven organization that in essence is doing the exact same thing to legitimate city businesses as this City of Sedona is doing to owners of vacant lots, with sewer availability but not using the system?

    If Sedona continues this inequitable arrangement with this regional Chamber of Commerce, why doesn’t the State of Arizona put the kibosh on similar discrimination and double standards?

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